Where Have You Been?

An Explanation for my Recent Silence

The following is an amalgamation of all the conversations I’ve had with friends and colleagues regarding my situation.

What happened? Where’d ya go?

I know, I know, I’m sorry. Things got a bit hairy for me and my family for a bit and I decided to not put added pressure on myself  by needing to post something every Tuesday.

So what happened?

Well, First of all my wife got into an accident. She was riding her scooter downtown and a guy pulled out of a parallel parking space without looking and turned right into her while she was moving at speed. She dislocated her right shoulder and tore her ACL, MCL and medial meniscus in her right knee.

Sweet Moses! Is she ok?

She is now, but she’s had two surgeries already and needs a third. When the surgeon was operating on her shoulder they found a tear in her rotator cuff, which also now needs surgery. She’s been off work since the accident in mid February and the surgeon says it’ll probably be until mid November before she’s released to go back to work full time.

Well, that’s a good enough reason to stop writing, you’re forgiven.

Wait, I’m not done

There’s more?

Haha I wish there wasn’t, but there is.

We were in the process of buying a house when the accident happened. So along with the accident, ER visit, finding a surgeon, finding an injury lawyer, physical therapy etc, we also had to close on our new home and go through the process of moving.

Geez, what awful timing.

Tell me about it.

Thankfully my mother in law flew in from Ohio to help with my wife’s recovery. She was a great help when it came to taking care of the wife and packing. She was with us for five weeks. Unfortunately, having any guest in your home for that long becomes it’s own stress, so there’s that to add on.

Ok, so how did your anxiety issues hold up during all this?

Overall although I was under lots of stress, I was able to keep it together pretty well. I kept on meditating and tried to eat in as healthy a way as I could, although it’s very difficult to do when you’re moving home. What I found was that exercise was the biggest influence on my stress levels. Throughout my two previous bouts of anxiety I wasn’t exercising in any kind of consistent way. This time I tried to make exercise a priority, then I got injured and had to stop. That’s when things got bad.

So I thought meditation was supposed to fix all that stuff? Why didn’t it work for you this time?

I’ve never said meditation fixes anxiety. It has helped me tremendously with my anxiety, but it doesn’t “cure” you. One of the biggest things meditation has given me is awareness. I’m far more aware of my levels of stress and how I feel at any given moment. I’m more in touch with myself than I was before.

So although I’ve had issues with anxiety again, they aren’t to the levels they were at when they first started back in December 2014. Each time they’ve been more manageable, less severe and I bounce back quicker.

Well, I suppose that’s good.

Are you shitting me!? That’s great! The first time I had an anxiety attack I had to go to the ER! I was off work for weeks. Now because I’m far more aware of what I’m feeling, I don’t let things get that far. I know what works for me, what doesn’t and how often I need to do it.

I’m convinced that if I had been able to exercise more during all this stress, I would’ve come out the other side without any after effects.

So when are you going to start writing and posting videos again?

Unfortunately all the stress of life caused me to jettison anything that caused extra stress that wasn’t absolutely necessary. That meant that my blog went dark overnight. I posted one tweet to @MarkProgress saying that I was gone for now but that I’d be back, and that’s been it. I’ve put all my energy and focus into my wife and myself.

I know you understand, but I wanted to explain what happened because I think you all deserve an explanation for my silence.

Ok, that’s fair, but you didn’t answer my question.

Sorry, I do that. I get talking and then forget to answer the question. I should be in politics haha.

I’m going to slowly start working my way back into social media so you’ll slowly start to see more posts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I’m in the process of planning and prepping some blog posts that go over what has happened over the last few months and what I’ve learned from the experience. I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. It would be very easy to just let the blog die after this prolonged silence, but I miss it. I see so much on the internet about anxiety, but so little about how someone who lives with it and helps themselves.

So is that why you’re doing the blog?

Partly.

A major part was to get things straight in my own head. I also wanted to document my process of recovery. There’s also an element of reducing the stigma around anxiety. I’m not ashamed of it and I want to share the ups and downs with others so that I and others remember that there are ways to reduce it’s effects and live happy lives.

I’ve said before that I created my blog to try and get through to the “me” that existed pre December 2014. The one that thought he had his shit together. The guy that was so completely unaware of the levels of stress he was under that he actually thought he could deal with anything. Thing is, he never dealt with anything, he just stuffed down his emotions and then ate his feelings.

Meditation brought me out of that.

Meditation gave me the insight and awareness to help me change the things that weren’t working for me. It was the adult equivalent of counting to ten before doing something I would regret. The pause before a knee jerk reaction that allowed me to make a difference choice. A better choice.

Duuuuude, that’s deep!

Fuck off, it worked for me.

What’s most annoying for me is to see so many people that could benefit from meditation but close their minds to it because they have some preconceived notion of what meditation is or how it should be done. That’s why I wrote Mediation Has a PR Problem and I Can’t Meditate.

Are you going to start preaching to me?

Nope.

We’re done.